Lost Battalion (World War II)

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Lost Battalion
Date 24–30 October 1944
Location Vosges Mountains, France
Result American victory
Belligerents
 United States  Germany
Commanders and leaders
John Dahlquist

Marty Higgins(141st) Charles Pence(442nd)

Walter Rolin
Units involved
36th Infantry Division

442nd Infantry Regiment

743rd Tank Battalion
83rd Chemical Battalion
3rd Chemical Battalion

933rd Grenadier Regiment

736th Grenadier Regiment 202nd Mountain Battalion 198th Fusilier Battalion

Strength
141st

275
442nd
2,943

Casualties and losses
141st

64 KIA, WIA, MIA, POW 442nd
161 KIA
2,000 WIA
43 MIA

"The Lost Battalion" refers to the 1st Battalion, 141st Infantry (36th Infantry Division, originally Texas National Guard), which was surrounded by German forces in the Vosges Mountains on 24 October 1944.[1]

Against the advice of his senior officers, the battalion was committed to an engagement by Maj. General John E. Dahlquist. After it was cut off by the Germans, two failed attempts were made to rescue the unit.

The third attempt was conducted by the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a unit composed of mostly Japanese Americans. In five days of battle, from 26 October to 30 October 1944, the 442nd broke through German defenses and rescued about 230 men. The 442nd suffered over 800 casualties.[2] I Company went in with 185 men; eight walked out unhurt. K Company began with 186 men; 17 walked out. Additionally the Commander sent a patrol of 50-55 men to find a way to attack a German road block by the rear and try to liberate the remainder of the trapped men. Only 5 returned to the "Lost Battalion" perimeter, 42 were taken POW and were sent to Stalag VII-A in Moosburg, Bavaria, which was liberated on 29 April 1945.

The 442nd is the most decorated unit in U.S. military history for its size and length of service, with its component 100th Infantry Battalion earning the nickname “The Purple Heart Battalion.”

A special law was passed in 2010 awarding members of the unit, and those of the Military Intelligence Service a Congressional Gold Medal, for which a ceremony was held at the Emancipation Hall of the US Capitol in October of 2011, followed by local ceremonies in California, Hawaii, and other states where unit members had been unable to make it to Washington, D.C.

Further reading[edit]

See also[edit]

- Daniel Inouye

References[edit]

  1. ^ Video: Armistice Day In France Etc. (1944). Universal Newsreel. 1944. Retrieved February 21, 2012. 
  2. ^ 1

1. Tanaka, Chester, Go For Broke: A Pictorial History of the 100/442d (Novato: Presidio, 1997), 99.

2. http://www.moosburg.org/info/stalag/indeng.html